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Pain clinic? When should you seek help?

Started by thedeaner3 on 08/04/2010 3:27pm

I'm 24 years old and suffer from two herniated discs L4-L5 & L3-L4. I also have moderate to severe degeneration in these two disc that cause me a lot of achy pain and discomfort. I recently had a procedure called a percutaneous discotomy to try a less evasive way of helping the herniations. I did receive relief from the sciatic pain after the procedure. But i still have back pain from the degeneration in the two discs. The radiologist is a good family friend and said my back is "shot" which is quite worrisome. I've had epidurals and taken NSAIDS with no relief. My question is am I too young to see a pain specialist? I'm a student and going back to school this fall and am worried because sitting is the worst for me. I need to get some relief because by back is taking over my life and i want it back. I'm curious to see other's experiences with pain specialists and what ideas some of you might have.
thank you,

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I don't think your age matters in this situation. If you're in pain, you're in pain. Has the doctor that did your discotomy not wanted to give you any pain meds? It sounds like he did your operation and that was it. Bottom line is, you need to get some relief; a pain doctor can review your case and see what he thinks is best. If you can get a referral from someone that would be great. Otherwise do some research on the net to check on pain doctors in your area.

Good luck and let us know how you're doing.


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Hi Nick,

I'm right there with you on the sitting pain. Some days I can, some days it's a no go. I herniated L5 S1 in 2009 then this spring fell and reherniated it and bulged L4 also. I have degenerative disc disease and arthritis. So far the anti inflammatories, epidurals, facet injections and physical therapy have kept the pain at a level I can live with. I haven't used a pain management clinic but I can share my mother's experience. She started experiencing pain about 10 years ago. She has been thoroughly evaluated by some supposedly great programs at Oregon State University and Virginia Mason in Seattle. They have never been able to come up with a definitive diagnosis. She has been graduated up the narcotic line from 5 mg Vicodin to 8 oxycotins a day over the years. About 5 weeks ago her pharmacist shared that she knew another chronic pain sufferer that had started going to a pain management clinic and within months was pain free. My mom got an appointment. The first thing the doctor did was order an MRI with and without contrast. The contrast MRI picked up fractures at T12 and L1. In all the years of specialists no one had ordered this! They have started treatment for what was really wrong with her all these years and are having great success. In my opinion no one should hesitate seeking assistance from a pain management doctor. Godd luck with your situation.



Nick, what alternative therapies have you tried so far? Did the diskectomy help?


I have tried a lot of things before the percutaneous discotomy. I visited a chiropractor faithfully for weeks, tried going to this Brazilian massage therapist guy, acupuncture, 2 epidurals, and finally decided for the surgery when I re-herniated my discs and had severe sciatic pain. The percutaneous dicotomy was successful in relieving the sciatic pain thank goodness, but I still have quite a bit of centralized lower back pain. Like I said sitting is tough on me and also bending over (i have to prop my foot up high to tie my shoes). The pain isn't excruciating like the sciatic pain was, but quite dull and problem some. I have a high pain tolerance from endless injuries from growing up as a very athletic and typical dumb boy who would try anything that looked fun. But what's challenging is the effects it has on my mentality and sleep patterns. With the endless dull pain it slowly gets to my head and really messes with my mood and my motivation. I actually visited with my family doctor just a few days ago and he prescribed me 50mg tramadol and a muscle relaxer called Skelaxin which have helped quite a bit. I'm just worried because of the condition of my back at such a young age (I'll be 24 in Oct.). And from an MRI i had last November to just this month of July, there has been progression of the degeneration and a full herniation of L3-L4. Any advice?


I can imagine what you are going through. I had my herniation in 1998 when I was around 25. Managed to avoid surgery until 2003 and had my diskectomy. Now this bloddy thing has reherniated again out from no where, just woke up with it and landed in the ER and was hospitalized for 4 days. Steroid shots did help to some extent.

I was on robaxin, vicodin and neurontin until 3 weeks back. These meds drove me crazy! I am now doing homeopathy, acupuncture and herbal medicine.I also do light decompression since my neurosurgeon asked me to try it out. Some days the pain is 5/10 and some days its 2/10 which is still OK. Over all I see 50% improvement.

You should probably try herbal meds, give it a shot and see how it goes.



What herbal medication are you taking or have you taken that has given you relief? And the stuff that works, does it work as well as pain medication?


It's called ayurvedic treatment. Check out out google and you should see a lot of information. The only ready-made preparation is the oil I apply to my back and foot.

The other long acting medicine is "prepared". There is a compound prepared by the doctor using 8-10 herbs that I need to mix with honey and have twice a day. the other one is where some herbs are boiled in a cup of water and consumed as-is. The tastes are just terrible :-)
Check -http://www.facebook.com/pages/Delhi-India/ayurveda4uall/44518127254?v=wall&__a=6&

Actually, there are ayurveda treatment clinics in India that have you stay there for 3 weeks for, both, a oral medicine course as well as their suite of exercises including massages. I could not afford to make a trip not, but probably will do end of this year. I am not sure which ones are well-known, but can find you one if interested.
Send me your email id if you are interested and i can probably connect you to them.


I used to let my Family Practice Drs. help me with pain relief. They kept me on huge doses of time
released Morphine and Percocet. After so many years of this, and the pain getting worse day by day, I found some Pain and Spine Specialists. They told me that after a number of years that you can actually be worse if you continue on the path I was on. Immediately they changed me to Methadone and some Percocet for breakthrough pain along with something for the constant spasms in my neck.
I woke up the next morning and I was not in pain for the first time in nearly 30 years. My head was
clear, I felt good and my entire family noticed it right away. I was afraid to try to Methadone, but it has made such a positive effect on my pain as well as my involvement with people so much better that now it's like a complete 180 degree change all for the better in my life. I don't know if I am allowed
to post a web address where you can find a clinic or Dr to help you find the care you probably need.
Without their help, I could still be suffering and hoping that I was not going to be dropped by another
Dr who did not want to treat pain patients. But this group sent me for tests right away, found many problems that have been ongoing for years and now I am looking into more surgery that my turn out
to be lifesaving. I am all for the group that led me to this group and how they respond to people in pain. It has been a very positive move for me to at last have MD's who care enough to treat me in
an appropriate manner, search out what is wrong and treat me without fear. If you have such a clinic
anywhere near you, get the first appointment that you can and trust them. They have spent extra time working to help people like you and me. I think of the time wasted while I deteriorated under the
care of other's and how much of my life was spent trying to get help it makes me sad. Until you live
under the stigma of feeling like a drug seeking patient when you don't go to people who truly understand it, it is another pain added to your list. Find a good pain clinic and see them. Your life will be so much more than it is now. Good luck. If I am allowed to post the name of the group that led me
to where I go now for treatment, I hope somebody lets me know. They are non-profit and we donate
lots of money to them to help all people suffering with this invisible condition. They also keep our
senators aware that we are not to be neglected and you will never feel like an addict another day with
them behind you.